Old Dominion stays in contention to be bowl-eligible with thrilling victory at Georgia Southern


Grant Wilson passed for a touchdown and added a 30-yard TD reception, Ethan Sanchez kicked a 22-yard field as time expired and Old Dominion beat Georgia Southern 20-17 Saturday night in Statesboro.

The Monarchs (5-6, 4-3 Sun Belt) ended a three-game losing streak and became the first team to beat Georgia Southern in Statesboro this season. They will be bowl-eligible if they win their finale next week at S.B. Ballard Stadium against Georgia State.

With ODU record-setting quarterback Taylor Heinicke of the Atlanta Falcons in attendance, Wilson was 17-of-27 passing for 182 yards with no interceptions, and his 12-yard touchdown pass to Javon Harvey made it 10-0 with 6:08 left in the second quarter.

“It was so cool to experience this,” Heinicke said on odusports.com. “This is a big-time win for the program. It was an awesome win.”

Georgia Southern led the Sun Belt with averages of 32.7 points and 435 yards per game. Coordinator Blake Seiler’s defense held the Eagles to 17 points and 354 yards.

Old Dominion took a 17-10 lead on a trick play at the end of the third quarter. Wilson handed the ball to Ahmarian Granger on a jet sweep. Granger threw it back to Wilson as he ran toward the left sideline, juked a defender at the 5 and then dragged another into the end zone.

Georgia Southern’s Davis Brin converted a fourth-down pass to Jjay Mcafee on their team’s final drive, then threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Mcafee with 1:25 left to make it 17-all.

But Wilson believed in his unit.

“We had all three timeouts in our pocket,” he said on odusports.com. “The defense had stepped up all game. It was our time to step up.”

They did. Wilson hit Granger for 17- and 7-yard gains before he ran 28 yards on a keeper to set up the winner by Sanchez. Wilson could have gone into the end zone, but he slid at the 5 to try to run more of the clock.

Sanchez kicked a 47-yard field goal to open the scoring early in the second quarter.

Davis was 20-of-35 passing for 235 yards, and Jalen White added 19 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown for Georgia Southern (6-6, 3-4). The Eagles have lost three in a row.

ODU had lost three in a row to Georgia Southern, including FCS playoff losses in 2011 and 2012.


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